It’s funny what images stick in the mind. Of everything I’ve seen here—including volcanoes, big waves, and weird architecture—the thing I’ll remember most is a line of ants we saw one evening hiking back up the hill from the beach. There was a black belt about 2 inches wide crossing the path, one that seemed to pulse and change shape slightly from moment to moment. It wasn’t just that they were the most tightly packed and disciplined group of ants I’d ever seen. It was also that they were, in ant terms, hauling butt. Flying. Scrambling over each other and about 10 deep and 40 ants across. We stopped and looked at them for a while, marveling at their collective willpower. It was impossible to tell how many there were, how long this belt extended, or whether they were heading away from something or toward something. They weren’t carrying anything. But I’ll tell you what: That whole living belt of ants hummed. There was no doubt in my mind that I was looking at a single, conscious thing. One that understood that every moment in this place is a life-or-death struggle.